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Proctor's Garden: So many daisies

Daisies are some of the most popular late summer plants.

DENVER — The daisy family is the biggest family in the plant kingdom. Right now the daisies are the biggest stars in my garden.

We have Mexico to thank for three of the best--marigolds, dahlias and zinnias. Deadhead all of them to keep them blooming. 

Remember to dig up the tubers of dahlias after they've frosted in fall. Some of my dahlias are at least 15 years old.

The two zinnias mentioned by name are 'Benary's Giant Purple' and 'Magellan Pink.' Seed can be ordered online and you can grow these yourself next year.

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Two species of Rudbeckia stand out in late summer. R. lacianiata grows over six feet tall and has big yellow flowers on stiff stems that don't need staking. It's a native of the tall grass prairie and has evolved to get its flowers above the grasses. Deadhead it to get continuous bloom through the fall. 

Rudbeckia triloba grows about three feet tall and features masses of little flowers that resemble bumblebees. You can't buy the plants; you have to grow it from seed. Buy a packet and sow it this fall in your garden. It will germinate over winter. It's a biennial, meaning it grows leaves the first year and flowers in the second. It dies at the end of the second year and then scatters its seeds and the process starts over.

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